Auction Houses: Pandering to those who hate crafting

This. Elder Game’s The Case Against Auction Houses.

But I mean, what are you gonna do, not have an auction house in a modern MMO?

Sure! There’s no reason every MMO should have an auction house. Lots of MMOs implement it unthinkingly, because they believe it’s a mandatory back-of-the-box feature. Few MMO developers take the time to think about the ramifications of the feature.

I’ve got a lot to say on the subject myself, as a self-professed crafter before anything else in MMOs, but having ignored most of my work over the weekend I’m now forced to actually do some in order to pay the bills. Bah humbug.

Also: I miss SWG. The whole crafter/merchant/harvester thing did sort of turn into a second (and sometimes third) job, but it was the most fulfilling crafting and selling in any MMO, evar.

Short, not sweet

Supposed to refer to this post, but I guess it could refer to me too. I slay me.

1. Hot summer is hot. Where can I find a place that’s 70 degrees (20C) all year round?

On the bright side, it’s so dry here in New Mexico that hot here isn’t nearly as hot as, er, hot in humid places. I should probably work on that sentence a bit more.

2. Bad health sucks. It insinuates tendrils in all parts of your life and makes just about everything more difficult.

I’m not whining (much), just observing. My sympathies to anyone else who’s going through chronic health issues.

3. Work is harder when you’re sick.

Especially if you have a lot of it and feel sick most of the time. Oh, woe is me.

4. Only a month to go to TSW launch if it’s on time. /Snoopydance

I really really want to say more but I can’t so I won’t. I swear, work and health be damned, I’m taking a week off right around July 3rd.

 

SW:Honeymoon

So. I braved snow, snow, snow and more snow to get into town on the 21st (couldn’t get out for snow on the 20th) and pick up a copy of SW:TOR. I suspect if a gajillion feet of snow hadn’t fallen since Thanksgiving, I probably would have got myself a preorder copy after all – though there was no way I was getting a digital version. Trying to download 25 gig or however  big the client is on our crappy little DSL connection? I’d die of old age before it was done.

Anyway, copy was bought and brought home, though not installed until the 23rd. Work, snow, work work, snow. You might be able to tell from my prose that I wasn’t terrifically over-excited about it anyway, though lots of my friends were having fun with it. I really only picked it up because I said (months ago) that I would, and because, well, I had nothing else I really wanted to play on the computer anymore, and my time with Skyrim is closely rationed (the spousal unit gets a turn now and then too).

I will say, I thought the opening cinematics were boss. I’ve only seen the generic one and the Republic side, but at some point I’ll make Empirescum characters and get to see theirs.

My smuggler is not impressed by the Senate

After that, creating a char and logging in and actually playing was… weird, in some ways. It looks and sounds a lot like SWG – how could it not, when they both used the same LucasArts material? Star Wars music is Star Wars music, after all (and it’s one of the reasons this is about the only game that has music I like – it’s REAL music, not some endlessly looping 20-second pseudo-medieval piece of crap with lots of Highlander-meets-Braveheart horns). I actually want to have the music on all the time, but the combat music is tied to it and I really, really hate combat music – so it’s off for now, but not willingly.

It plays and feels a lot like WoW or any other MMO you’ve played in the last 5 years. That’s intentional, and it’s actually pretty smart. I haven’t had to worry about learning new keybinds (much), and when I automatically reach for a key to open a UI element, it’s usually right. My main gripe with the UI is that at 1920 x 1200, which lots of people are capable of these days, it’s still gigantic and clunky, and it’s entirely unscaleable. Even WoW lets you do that without mods – c’mon, Bioware.

Friends have commented on how odd the lack of attention to the UI is, but I’m not surprised at all. Bioware make GAMES, not UIs – I remember the crappy one in DragonAge and in games before that, and I can just see the justifications from here. And, to be honest, I’d rather have a corking good game than a great UI, though I’d really rather have both. The UI feels a lot like early WoW, and hopefully that will change. It’s livable-with, anyway – more an irritant than a full-blown deal-breaker, and you know what a nerd I am about UIs.

I have, of course, made eleventy-million characters already. What can I say. Ironically, the one I’ve preferred playing so far is a tank, believe it or not, though I haven’t been all that good at tanking *all* the mobs with her in the one instance I did (but then we didn’t have any heals either). Even so, all the classes are fun and every class has its own personal story, which has of course been one of the SWTOR selling points.

I’ll admit, it’s pretty neat, but it’s also a little weird. For a while it felt as though I were playing a single-player game that happened to have other people in it – it still feels like that to some extent, but I’m getting used to it, and that feeling ebbs a little once you get off the newbie planet. It’s been really interesting to see that different classes are here / doing X / looking for Y / going to Z for different reasons – I don’t really want to say much because it’s spoilerish, but while the Smuggler and the Trooper base classes both start on Ord Mantell, for instance, their stories and reasons for being there are quite different, and will unfold differently. It’s… neat.

I’d be playing now except it’s Tuesday maintenance. You’d think we were playing WoW or something…

Quote of the day (/unlurk)

I stole this most horribly from something TishToshTesh just said on G+. Starting to get the feeling it’s true for me too:

MMOs are designed as monogamous attention whores. I’m just not the target audience for that.

I’d add a link to the discussion and Psychochild’s original post but I, ahem, don’t know how to do that with G+. Yes, I’ve been on it for mumblemumble months. Sue me.

Elder Game sez I’m dumb

Not really, but it was tempting.

Elder Game actually says they’re tired of punditry, which I can empathise with, and I don’t even have actual MMO-developing skills to fall back on. Hence the echoing non-postiness of this site these last few months.

I’m sure I could find things to say about MMOs, but the inspiration balance is more delicate than I realised. I’m doing it for cold hard cash once a week already (writing, you pervs!), and every week I sit there thinking OMFG what am I going to write this time? It’s different when someone’s paying you, which I should have known from the start, and I’m not certain it’s different in a good way. I’ve got a whole lot of other stuff going on too, some of it pleasant, some of it less so, which distracts me from spending 30-60 minutes posting on a regular basis (i.e. more than twice a month).

And, as EG so rightly points out, there’s only so many times one can say the same thing before it becomes boring to write. It doesn’t matter whether the audience likes it or not or whether they mind the rehash — I don’t have any objection whatsoever to reading rehash on my favourite sites, but writing it is a special kind of pointless tedium that might be better spent picking one’s nose.

Blog hive-mind synchronicity in action. I’ve just spent the last few days telling myself I really should post more to this blog, because I miss it, but then stumbling on the actual content-creation part. I just don’t have much I want to write about here, not that I haven’t written a million times already anyway.

Someone get me a beta spot on TSW already. I could use the distraction. Ahem – once the NDA comes down, anyway.

The Secret World – E3 snippets

In case you’ve got your head stuck down a gopher hole (what? my Husky does it all the time)  or just happen to be as bad as I am at keeping up with news. These days I neither read my RSS feeds (sorry all) nor much of anything else game-related… Except for #TSW stuff. E3 is on right now, however, and info is flowing out as though from a busted hydrant so that even I have to work at missing it.

TSW: New location revealed – Innsmouth Academy. There’s a shadow over that place, I tell ya.

From yesterday: Atlantic Island Park. Oh, just go poke about the website already, it’s really starting to flesh out.

A beta spot! a beta spot! my kingdom* for a beta spot!

*or at least something very nice, like a toaster or a spatula.